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Leap Seconds: UK Public Dialogue

Thursday 5 February 2015

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In 2015, member countries of the International Telecommunications Union will decide whether to maintain leap seconds, the mechanism by which clock time (based on the timescale Coordinated Universal Time, or UTC) is kept in sync with solar time (time determined by the rotation of the Earth and the apparent movement of the Sun through the sky).

In recognition of the potential cultural and technical impacts of this decision, the National Measurement Office commissioned the OPM Group and RK Partnership to run a public dialogue to inform the UK’s view about whether leap seconds should be maintained or discontinued. This dialogue consisted of public dialogues in Belfast, Tamworth, Cardiff and Edinburgh, as well as a national stakeholder dialogue in London, ‘pop up’ dialogues and an online forum and survey. This report summarises all strands of the leap seconds dialogue.